|Race Without End: The grind behind the glamour of the SASOL Jordan Grand Prix Team, by Maurice Hamilton|
|©1994, Patrick Stephens Limited|
We’re lucky enough to have interviewed veteran F1 journalist Maurice Hamilton a few years ago, and the given the outstanding quality of his more recent works, we were lucky enough to stumble across one of his older titles, Race Without End.
It’s the complete story of the Jordan Grand Prix team’s 1993 Formula 1 season. Hamilton managed to negotiate unrivalled and exclusive access over the entire season to the team’s inner sanctum, shadowing the team at every test, press event and all sixteen of the Grands Prix that made up the season.
It was the team’s third season in the top-flight. After a giant-killing debut season in 1991 where the team finished fifth in the Constructors’ Championship and unveilled a certain Michael Schumacher to the world, the team came down with a major thud in 1992. Equipped with underpowered Yamaha engines and two demotivated drivers, the team scored a single point all season.
The 1993 season – despite introducing a new car, a new engine provider (Hart), and a fresh-faced twenty-year-old called Rubens Barrichello – wasn’t proving to be any better. The 193 package looked promising, but it was well short of being competitive: fourteen races in, it still hadn’t scored a points finish.
The closest moment came at the famous European Grand Prix at Donington, where Barrichello gave a clear demonstration of his wet-weather prowess by running third, only to splutter to a halt a few laps before the finish, out of fuel…
Money was tight and Barrichello saw off a sequence of teammates – Ivan Capelli, Thierry Boutsen, Marco Apicella and Emanuele Naspetti – who all failed to challenge the young Brazilian. That was until a Northern Irishman called Eddie Irvine came on the scene for the final two races, leading he and Barrichello to finally break the team’s points’ duck with a fifth and sixth at Suzuka.
Rarely, if ever, has a book delivered such an in-depth exposé of the inner working of a Formula 1 team: its management, drivers, technical figureheads, sponsorship deals, and all the other cut-and-thrust activities that occur to help the team get to every Grand Prix, test session and press event throughout the year.
Aside from what the teams reveal to the public – and that’s usually a very PR-filtered view each Grand Prix – it’s almost impossible to understand how a team actually works: how sponsorship income affects what technical developments can be explored, how personal rivalries within the team’s hierarchy are manifested, and what a succession of poor performances does to the entire psyche of the team.
Hamilton packages this together brilliantly, and the effort justifiably won him the Renault UK Journalist of the Year Award. Twenty-one years on, it’s still a fascinating read.
Using our unique ‘Chequered Flags’ rating system, we award Race Without End…
OUT OF A POSSIBLE FIVE.